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The Awkward Age in Women's Popular Fiction, 1850-1900Girls and the Transition to Womanhood$
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Sarah Bilston

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272617

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272617.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.223) Conclusion
Source:
The Awkward Age in Women's Popular Fiction, 1850-1900
Author(s):

SARAH BILSTON

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272617.003.0008

This book has presented a historical account of the role of the transitional girl in later 19th-century literature. Focusing on the position of the girl in women's writing, it has argued that fictional treatments of girls' growth helped clear a literary and cultural space for representations of the New Woman's awakening to disaffected consciousness. The book's primary objective has been to treat Victorian women's writing with respect — to consider the novels of once-popular writers worthy of sustained literary criticism. The texts have yielded complex yet intelligible narratives about the operations of gender in 19th-century England. This book has revealed that, as a matter of historical fact, the construction of femininity and the concept of separate spheres were open to interpretation in even some of the most conservative women's literature. This book serves as a reminder that the New Women were not fighting alone and that theirs was not the only mode of progress.

Keywords:   England, nineteenth century literature, women writers, gender, femininity, fiction, New Woman

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